Aglantzia or Aglandjia is a suburb and a municipality of Nicosia. The Minicipality is contiguous to Nicosia Municipality, the capital of Cyprus. It is a Municipality near the buffer zone with a surface of 31 square kilometers (km²), of which 14 km² are agricultural land occupied by the Turkish army since 1974. Out of the 17km² of free land, 9 km² are national forest parks (Athalassa park 8,6km² and Pedagogical Academy park 8,4 km²).
Aglantzia is Nicosia's highest suburb, since its largest part is built either on hills or on hillsides or at tableland level. Aglantzia was built in mediaeval times, before Ottoman rule, on an important site for defensive purposes, the existence of natural resources and its healthy climate.
The natural environment of Aglantzia is unique, being not only endowed with the big lung of Nicosia, Athalassa Forest, but also with Ayiou Georgiou park, Aglantzia Municipal park, as well as 45 small parks and green spaces. Aglantzia is built along the road, which led from Nicosia to Larnaca before the invasion. Two trapezoid hills overlook the site on both sides. The hill on the left is Arona hill, which is now under Turkish occupation. The trapezoid hill on the right of the road is called Aronas of Athalassa or Mount Lion or Liontarovounos, on which the remains of the medieval La Cava castle stand.
History and Demography
The history of Aglantzia goes back as far as 3888 B.C., since several tombs dating to the Bronze Age were found on the trapezoid Arona hill (Mount Lion or Liontarovounos). Around the hill there was an ancient settlement, from which the city of Ledra may have originated. The Kafizin (in the buffer zone) or Small Aronas, a historic site with a cave dedicated to the worship of a Nymph, where important archaeological works of art and inscriptions in cypro-syllabic writing were found, also stands within the area of Aglantzia.
In the Middle Ages, the Lefkomiatis settlement was in the area of Aglantzia. The area seems to have been inhabited towards the end of the Frankish rule, under the reign of Jacques II (1468-1473) and its name is believed to come from the surname of a Lusignan family who was the owner of the area.
After the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottomans, the Aglantzia settlement declined. It starts to form a self-sufficient rural settlement around the end of the 18th century. Its inhabitants are busy with farming, stockbreeding and quarrying. Around the end of the 18th century, dragoman Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios erected Ayios Georgios church on the site of the cemetery and Ayios Georgios church in Athalassa.
During the EOKA struggle, Aglantzia was present with organised groups and the sacrifice of Kyriakos Karaolis, whereas in the 1964 events, volunteers were incorporated in different companies. Andreas Nikolaou Koutsou fell in battle. During the Turkish invasion, Aglantzia was not only bombed mercilessly but the war took a heavy toll of the city and persons went missing. The Turkish invasion army occupies 45% of its territory.
Aglantzia has a population of 22.000 inhabitants, of whom 7.500 are refugees. Aglantzia combines the old and the new. It maintains a nucleus with traditional bricked houses with yards; its narrow streets refresh you with their human breath, whereas more recent large houses surround it, a few blocks of flats and refugees housings. Aglantzia is one of the excellent built-up areas of broader Nicosia. Aglantzia is characterized by Athalassa forests, the hypsometrical differences of the land, its neighboring with and easy access to the centre of Nicosia, the harmonious linking of the traditional and the new, and the tens of development works the Local Authority has to present.
Aglantzia was declared a Municipality by a referendum in May 1986. The Municipal Council is made up of the Mayor and fourteen Municipal Councilors. The current Mayor is Andreas Petrou The first, the second as well as the third Municipal Councils have worked in a spirit of comprehension and cooperation, having as a main and unique aim the progress and development of the Municipality. Based on the development Programmers, the three Municipal Councils have created tens of infrastructure development works, which have marked the progress and development of our town.
Aglantzia Municipality gives a special impulse to Cultural development, the protection and improvement of the Environment and Social Policy. Aglantzia Municipality employs 20 permanent employees and 30 workers (permanent and casual) who staff the services below, which have their seat in the Town Hall
• Secretary • Technical services • Financial services • Greenery and Environment services • Health and cleanness services • Cultural services
Two television broadcasting stations, the state station CyBC and ANTENNA, chose Aglantzia to establish their central offices. Many government services function in our community, since the Police Headquarters and the Agriculture Research Institute have their centre here, the Veterinary Clinic offers its services, the International Conference Centre functions, the Higher Technological Institute and the Higher Hotel Institute are located here. The Pedagogical Academy functioned for many years in Aglantzia and gave teachers to Cyprus, whereas the University of Cyprus functions now in the same building; its new buildings and the University Campus are being erected in Aglantzia.
The inhabitants of Aglantzia have left the marks of their religiousness in the churches and chapels since remote times. The big Ayiou Georgiou church stands in the heart of Aglantzia, and further up there are Apostle Andreas church, built on the initiative of refugees, Ayiou Nektariou church, Ayiou Georgiou Athalassas chapel, the country churches of Panayia, Ayiou Georgiou and Ayia Mavri. The younger scions of Aglantzia Municipality are educated in six elementary schools and three secondary schools.
The Municipality, proud of its cultural tradition, mentions with boast the Elias Aletras Popular Theatre, which honors Aglantzia with its contribution.
Sites of Interest
Skali Cultural Centre is the most dynamic work of the Municipality, which constitutes the basic infrastructure for Aglantzia cultural upgrading. It is the pride of the Municipality and constitutes the cultural identity of Aglantzia and a reference for all Cyprus. It succeeded in its aim and mission, which it the qualitative cultural offer to the citizens, the revival of old Aglantzia and the communication with the broader society.
The history of Aglantzia dates back as far as 3888 B.C., since several tombs from the Bronze Age were found on the Arona trapezoid hill (Leontari Hill or Leondarovounos). The first archaeological finds were discovered in the last decades of the previous century, period to which the oldest excavations in Cyprus in general date back. The centre of the first excavations in the area, both by the Germans and the British, was the imposing trapezoid hill, which is known under the names Leontari Hill or Aronas.
The prehistoric settlement on Leantari Hill, strategically located for the defence of the area, had most certainly the character of a military deployment during the firs phase of its history. The medieval La Cava castle, built on the same site, more or less in the middle of the flat summit of Leondarovounos around 1385 by king Jacques I, was also used as an observatory for the control of access and the road leading from Larnaca to Nicosia.
However, the destruction that hit the monument started very early, the first in 1426 already by the Mameluks. The Venetians blasted it later, during the third decade of the 16th century, whereas the Ottomans used the bigger of the two towers as a powder magazine. The demolishing of the castle walls in 1878 and the use of its stones as building material for the erection of Faneromeni Church in Nicosia completed the wear of dereliction during the previous century.
La Cava castle is the only monument saved in Aglantzia area and one of the few castles in Cyprus. Let's mention that in the record of the ancient monuments, which had been proclaimed according to the 1905 antiquities law (which was revised in 1915) La Cava castle on Leontari Hill was included as one of the four ancient monuments of Nicosia District.
The Kafizin or small Aronas is a historic site with a cave dedicated to the worship of a Nymph, where important archaeological works of art and inscriptions in Cyprosyllabic writing were found. Potteries with votive inscriptions constitute nearly the whole of the offerings found in Kafizin cave. On the other inscriptions, the alphabetic writing has been used to express the common Greek language. The offerings to the Kafizin Nymph, potteries and utensils, whether they bear inscriptions or not, represent a unique in its kind series of representative ceramic types of local manufacture and specific chronology. There is a big variety of vessels and some of them are unique, we have bowls of different variations, two-handled vessels, cup-bearers, feeding bottles, mud-lighters, jars, cooking utensils, frying pans, wash basins, jugs, combined pots, urns, amphorae, rythons, large jars and jar lids, objects testifying to the practice of waving etc.It is worth mentioning that the area is full of potsherds.
On the basis of dates which are mentioned on some inscriptions, the use of the Numph worship place dates back to the Hellenistic period and more precisely between 225 and 218 B.C., that is to say from the twenty-third year of the reign of Ptolemy the Benefactor until the fourth year of Ptolemy Philopatoras. The Lefkomiatis settlement was in Aglantzia area during the Middle Ages. Only a few remains are saved from the Byzantine period and the Middle Ages, during which there was a settlement in Aglantzia. After the conquest of Cyprus by the Ottomans, the Aglantzia settlement declines. It starts setting up a self-sufficient rural settlement at the end of the 18th century. Its inhabitants are busy with farming, stockbreeding and quarrying
Aglantzia has been twinned with:
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/"